2010-11 extreme weather

Flood plumes and cyclones hit the Great Barrier Reef over the 2010–11 summer, causing flow-on effects to the marine environment and coastal communities.

In the wake of these events, we worked with key partners to implement our Extreme Weather Response Program. This helped target management and industry efforts to support recovery of damaged areas, while building the resilience of the Reef over the longer term.

It also improved our understanding of extreme weather, which is predicted to occur more frequently under climate change.  

Key findings and details on the actions taken to help the Reef cope with the after-effects can be found in our report Extreme Weather and the Great Barrier Reef.  

Flooding

The summer of 2010–11 was the second wettest on record for Australia.

The unusually intense rainfall caused extensive flooding in many coastal areas of southern Queensland, including several Great Barrier Reef catchments.

A large expanse of the inshore Great Barrier Reef region south of Mackay was exposed to persistent flood plumes from the Fitzroy, Burnett and Mary rivers.

Cyclones

Cyclone Yasi, one of the largest and most powerful cyclones to affect Australia since records began, crossed the Queensland coast near Mission Beach on 3 February 2011.

The coast and adjacent areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park were exposed to wind gusts up to 285 kilometres per hour.

The cyclone's wind boundaries were extensive, with gale force winds affecting 26 per cent (89,090 square kilometres) and destructive winds affecting 13 per cent (45,768 square kilometres) of the Marine Park.

  • Free Zoning Maps

    Zoning maps

    If you're heading out on the water, don't forget your free Zoning Map so you know where you can go and what you can do.

  • Important milestone

    40 years anniversary

    We're delighted to celebrate the 40 years of the managing the Great Barrier Reef.

  • Visit the Reef

    fish on reef

    Visit our Great Barrier Reef and discover its amazing animals, plants, and habitats.

  • What you can do

    purple coral

    Everyone has a role to play in protecting our Great Barrier Reef. Find out what you can do to help protect this great Australian icon.

  • Report marine strandings

    turtle

    If you see sick, dead or stranded marine animals please call RSPCA QLD 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)

  • Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef

    Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef vulnerability assessment cover image

    A Vulnerability Assessment: of the issues that could have far-reaching consequences for the Great Barrier Reef.